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A superwoman in Ramayana

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by plantscantalk, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. plantscantalk

    plantscantalk Gold IL'ite

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    This is a part of a reply that I had posted in another forum. I have removed that from there as it might not gel with the topic of that thread.

    Ramayana is a scripture consisting of little stories which every Hindu kid in India is brought up on. It is right up from the grandmother's stable and forms the ideal backdrop for teaching values and morals and could also be used as a lullaby or a bedtime story :)

    A reply from a member about Shri Shabari's offering pre-tasted berries to Lord Rama spurred some thoughts.

    The entire episode can be dismissed as something relating to the lack of etiquette on the part of Shri Shabari. Or it could be defended as saying that She was not aware of the rules as She was a tribal woman.

    My thoughts on this episode : it is a tribute to motherhood and bhakti bhAva. You could ask if the connection were tenuous. Maybe it is, however most of our scriptures 'allow' the interpretation of normal incidents from a laukika perspective or from a spiritual one. I take the latter one with a laukika twist.

    I think this episode emphasizes the vAtsalya bhava which a devotee feels for the God. This bhava is one of the many ways by which bhakti can be expressed. This bhava is all about treating the God as the devotee's kid. Sounds easy doesn't it? After all, don't the regular moms do just the very same thing.

    Yes, however in this case the same emotion was expressed not by a mother and not towards Her kid and without having seen the object of adoration. I hear you asking: ' How many of us have seen God?" A fair rejoinder. However, in Shri Shabari's case, even if Lord Rama was not the Lord, Her adoration was expressed as a motherly love.

    I look at Shri Shabari as the mother who didn't have kids of Her own, yet there was so much latent maternal instincts in Her that She submerged the lord in a torrent of Motherly Love. Maybe Shri Rama Himself set up this drama to be pampered by Shri Shabari :)

    I'd read about Shri Shabari on some website (Edit: Thanks Everhappy www.theprasanthireporter.org/2012/07/lessons-from-sabaris-devotion/) which I just can't remember, yet the following points seem etched into my memory. And heart.

    1. Shri Shabari ditched Her marriage when She came to know that an animal sacrifice would be the part of Her marriage celebrations. Though a tribal woman and residing in the forest, Her heart went out thinking the plaintive cries of the animals which would be sacrificed just as a part of a custom. She tried reasoning with Her father who just couldn't understand Her concerns and brushed it off.

    2. She decamped from Her residence and hid amongst the bushes and thereby escaped being detected. That was the time when She saw 2 young kids who had come to the river. Something seemed to attract Her to that very spot daily. Maybe it was the shlokas being chanted by the kids or banter or something beyond that. We can only throw out a plausible conjecture here.

    3. She began to adore the kids and surreptitiously clear their paths of sharp pebbles, thorns etc. The kids noticed this and reported this to their guru, a sage Matanga rshi (Edit: thanks Shanvy) in the nearby ashram.

    4. The sage, thru' His jyaana drshti, was able to understand what had happened and asked them to bring Her to Him.

    5. Shri Shabari recounted the troubles She had undergone to the sage and sought refuge. She also made it clear that She did NOT know any of the pooja vidhis etc. and would earn Her keep thru' housekeeping.

    6. The sage began to notice, over a period of time, that this lady was a spiritual soul. Especially, considering the fact that She would listen to the sage's instructions to His students and would sometimes be lost in thoughts, of course, after finishing Her chores.

    7. It was time for the sage to let Shri Shabari know about the expected arrival of the Lord. He then left the ashram in Her able hands and took samAdhi after assuring Her that the Lord would come in X years, X > 1.

    8. This was the final blow as far as She was concerned. Her maternal instincts went ballistic :bowdown as She began to live and relive the scenes of His arrival. Everything became Shri Rama for Her. Any comfort for Him that She could provide was not any issue for Her. She could NOT even bear the Lord wincing if He had taste a bitter berry.

    Her bhakti bhava need NOT be given any term or classified into any particular category. However, i feel, for some reason, that if I were to do that, i'd end up calling it as vAtsalyam. One can call it as dAsya as well, but there is something about a mother's unconditional love which always warms the heart, however hard it might be. Did She not sweep the lord away in a torrent of love leaving Him to grab at flotsam? If the Lord does not stand a chance what about a mere mortal like I ? She killed me with Her love...

    I have not read anyone's interpretation to give a scholastic analysis. The only thing I have assiduously seen is Ramanand Sagar serial on DD.

    Sita devi is rightly considered as a superwoman for the troubles She underwent for Her Lord. Yet Shri Shabari also underwent troubles and pined in a different way for the Lord.

    To me, Shri Shabari is indeed a superwoman :bowdown.
     
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  2. rgsrinivasan

    rgsrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    Touching one PCT. You wrote beautifully about the transformation from one stage of bhakti to other. Thanks. -rgs
     
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  3. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    plctk,

    you summed it up and i have nothing more to add other than that ramayana did not elaborate much about the other superwoman in the epic. namely urmila. according to me she suffered and came out shining in par or i would go ahead and say more than sita., though it is said she was always sleeping. she was a versatile painter.

    if you can get hold of a translation check out urmila a novel in malayalam.

    and also saket by maithili sharan gupt..

    Saumitrapriya- Urmilla: based on SAKET by Maithili Sharan Gupt - YouTube

    both woman show bhakti bhava- in their own ways. one as vatsalyam and another as sahanam...
     
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  4. Saisakthi

    Saisakthi IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Plantscantalk Sister,

    :wow: simply superb narration, you really made my day.

    Would love to hear many more of such clippings of incidences..

    :thankyou2:

    OM SAI SRI SAI JAYA JAYA SAI
     
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  5. Arunarc

    Arunarc Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Very well summed up Plantscantalk....
    Most of the time Sita is pictured as super women, But there are other ladies in Ramayana who have sacrified they life for others.
     
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  6. hrastro

    hrastro Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi plantscantalk,

    Your post in that other thread reminded me of the play way method I used for telling this story to my kids (my kid and balvihar kids) :)
    So I did a post on that !! http://www.indusladies.com/forums/s...tion/208786-sabaris-hospitality-and-rama.html

    Do you want me to update that thread with this link too ??

    And yes, Sitadevi had the confidence of a wife, that her Lord will come for her, Sabari just had longing and waiting and waiting !!!
     
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  7. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    btw plcntk, the sage was matanga muni, and the source of this story could it be from satya sai's sabari sadhana. remember reading it in a collection of discourses from prashanti nilayam.
     
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  8. EverHappy

    EverHappy Platinum IL'ite

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  9. ashwinn

    ashwinn Senior IL'ite

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    hi

    described beaut ifully
     
  10. vsharma

    vsharma Platinum IL'ite

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    Very descriptive and yes info for me about Shri Sabari whom for years I had known only as Rama Bhakt. You had given clear picture of Shri Sabari here. Thanks
     
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